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December 8, 2007

CompUSA to Shut Down

CompUSA, the electronics retailer, has been sold to a restructuring and investment firm, and will close down its stores and sell company assets.

According to the Wall Street Journal Online, Carlos Slim, the telephone and retail magnate from Mexico, will leave the U.S. consumer electronics market entirely. Golden Brothers Group bought out the retail chain.

Bloomberg said that the retail chain failed due to competition from stores like Wal-Mart.

November 26, 2007

Sen. Trent Lott Announces Retirement

FOX News broke the news today that Sen. Trent Lott, the second-ranking Republican on the U.S. Senate, is going to retire at the end of the year.

Reuters had a fairly hard-news style story about the retirement of the man who had been in Congress for 34 years, but MSNBC and FOX News had different styles of stories.

MSNBC focused the majority of its article on the effect that Lott's departure would cause, while FOX News profiled Lott as a person.

"I am announcing today that I will be retiring from the Senate by the end of the year," Lott said in Pascagoula, Mississippi.

November 18, 2007

Google Close To Announcing Plans to Bid For Wireless Network

Reuters reports Sunday that Google is considering bidding on airwaves to launch a nationwide wireless network.

Reuters also reports that Google would be bidding alone against nationwide powerhouses like AT&T and Verizon. They also said that bidding at airwaves alone would not rule out signing up partners at a later time. PC World reports that they'll probably have to.

"You have to wonder why a company would diversify into a market like that," said Jan Dawson, a vice president at market analyst Ovum Ltd.

CNet News reports that Google has already set up a wireless network within their own facilities to see what they could do with a nationwide wireless network.

November 10, 2007

Oil Spill Spreads in San Fransisco Bay

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger declared a state of emergency for the San Fransisco Bay Area after a South Korean oil tanker spilled 58,000 gallons of oil into the ocean.

State leaders are concerned over the time that it took to deliver accurate information about the oil spill. Investigations are underway, according to the New York Times, on how the ship hit the Bay Bridge and if the response was adequate.

According to the San Fransisco Chronicle, The Coast Guard admitted to erring to take much too long to issue an advisory that 58,000 gallons of oil spilled in the Bay Area.

According to the L.A. Times, the owner of the sunken ship is picking up the cost of the waterborne cleanup effort.

October 31, 2007

Federal Jury Awards $10.9 Million to Fallen Marine's Father Over Church Protests

A Baltimore Man was awarded nearly $11 million after winning a lawsuit over Westboro Baptist Church after the fundamentalist Kansas church protested the death of his son last year.

Albert Snyder's son, Matthew, was killed in Iraq. Snyder was distraught when members from Westboro Baptist Church protested the funeral with signs reading, "God hates fags," and "Thank God for dead soldiers."

A federal court ruled that that was wrong. Snyder is being awarded $2.9 million for compensatory damages and $8 million for punitive damages.

The Baltimore Sun interviews University of Maryland law professor Mark Graber in its article. Graber is concerned about the legal rights regarding free speech in these scenarios. "The award -- $2.9 million -- is an awful lot of money for compensatory damages. This was in a public space. While the actions are reprehensible, the First Amendment protects a lot that's reprehensible," he said.

October 22, 2007

Wildfires Spread Across Southern California

Wildfires in southern California have spread throught the region, and are now threatening many homes in the area.

Thousands of people have already evacuated from their homes and one person has died. According to the Associated Press, fire crews couldn't successfully fight all of the fires because many residents were being helped to evacuate their homes.

According to Reuters, the huge fires are forecast for another two days or so. 17 people are injured.

Over 265,000 people have been evacuated, according to the San Fransisco Chronicle, including a hospital and a jail.

"I lost count," said a San Diego firefighter, referring to how many homes had been engulfed in flames.

October 16, 2007

Baby Boomer Receives Social Security

And so it begins: the first member of the baby-boom generation started collecting Social Security benefits on Tuesday.

Kathleen Casey-Kirschling, a retired schoolteacher from New Jersey (AP), was the center of media attention after the Social Security Administration held a press conference that invited cameras to watch Casey-Kirschling to start receiving her benefits.

"I think I'm just lucky to be at the top of the boom. I'm just one of many many millions and am blessed to have been in this generation and really blessed and to take my Social Security now," Casey-Kirschling said. Fox News, in addition to this quote from Casey-Kirschling's press conference, interviewed David Walker, the comptroller general of the Government Accountability Office.

Walker said that Social Security faces a danger within the next ten years where the money going into the system from taxes will be less than what new retirees will be taking out of it. The baby-boom generation is threatening social security due to the sheer number of people born after World War II on the verge of retiring.

October 9, 2007

Schwarzenegger Pushes for State Lottery to Help With Medical Care

Arnold Schwarzenegger announced Tuesday more details on his plan to overhaul California's health care system, among which involved using state lottery funds to help.

Schwarzenegger wasn't able to get doctors to buy into his original plan, where doctors would have 2% of their income go into a health care pool that would help those in need. Because of that, he wanted to lease the state lottery for $2 billion per year in order to help pay for health care for the state.

Reuters' article seems to sound a little different, focusing many of its paragraphs on Schwarzenegger's desire to insure the uninsured.

"Everyone is working so hard on this because what's at stake is a health care delivery system that works for all Californians," Schwarzenegger said in a statement.

The bill itself would increase governmental assistance for low-income families and make it so that employers with payrolls under $100,000 do not have to contribute any money to the health care fund. However, Schwarzenegger said that he was willing to compromise.

“This is our proposal, so this is not the final numbers,? he said at a Capitol news conference.

October 1, 2007

Escaped Convicts Get Caught Again

Two killers who escaped from prison were captured on a Wyoming highway, said a Wyoming's sherrif detective Sunday.

Danny Martin Gallegos, 49, and Juan Carlos Diaz-Arevelo, 27, stole an SUV from a retired police officer before making their way on Interstate 80 across Wyoming.

According to the Salt Lake Tribune, 79-year-old Bill Johnson borke free of knots that were tying him to a bedpost. He later called police and reported his car stolen, where the convicts were eventually run down.

The two convicts, when pulled over, pulled out rifles and began shooting. Gallegos got hit by a bullet from a deputy. Diaz-Arevelo began running after he shot, but was promptly captured.

September 24, 2007

USF Student Dies From Bacterial Meningitis

19-year-old Rachel Futterman died on Saturday from a case of bacterial meningitis.

Futterman was a member of the Delta Gamma sorority, according to Tampa Bay's 10 News.

Bacterial meningitis is a fatal virus that affects people who live in close groups. Mostly, that means college dormitories and Greek houses.

Bacterial meningitis is very contagious. Students who live near Futterman took an extra meningitis vaccination, to be on the safe side.

September 17, 2007

Bush Names Mukasey as New Attorney General

President Bush has found a replacement for Alberto Gonzales, the attorney general who was forced to resign last month.

Michael Mukasey, a retired federal judge, will replace Gonzales, whose tenure officially ends on Monday.

"I look forward to meeting with members of Congress in the days ahead and, if confirmed, to working with Congress to meeting our nation's challenges," Mr. Mukasey said when the move was announced. Many support the decision made by the president.

"I think he'll make an excellent attorney general because now he can proceed unencumbered by any sense of fair play or impartiality," said Ron Kuby, an outspoken civil rights lawyer.

“The attorney general has an especially vital role to play in a time of war,? Bush said. “Judge Mukasey brings impressive credentials to this task.?

September 15, 2007

Judge Allows States to Control Auto Emission Standards

U.S. District Court Judge William Sessions III rejected a lawsuit by automakers that tried to defy emission standards in fourteen states on Wednesday.

Automakers claimed that if they had to create their vehicles with harsh environmental conditions in mind, it would have had a severe impact on their business. 240-page decision, “have they demonstrated that it will limit consumer choice, create economic hardship for the automobile industry, cause significant job loss or undermine safety.?

One of the states involved was Oregon, who was one of many states who responded to a ruling earlier this year that said that the Environmental Protection Agency has the authority to regulate auto emissions in individual states.

There is a similar hearing on October 22 in California, but the results of this case imply that that hearing may be dismissed.